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Floods (Response and Recovery)

Volume 575: debated on Monday 3 February 2014

I am providing an update for the House on the Department for Communities and Local Government’s work on flood recovery arising from the east coast tidal surge on 5 and 6 December and the widespread severe weather since Christmas.

The Bellwin scheme has been made available to authorities affected by the severe weather events in England from 5 December 2013 to date to assist with the immediate costs associated with these events. A total of 53 local authorities have notified us of their intention to claim.

Following my written ministerial statement on the 14 January, Official Report, column 24WS confirming my Department’s lead responsibility for the recovery from the severe weather events, I announced my intention to meet local authority leaders who had been impacted by these events to hear their concerns. I have met with authorities from East Anglia, Kent, Yorkshire and Humberside already, and will meet with leaders from other affected areas and voluntary sector organisations over the next fortnight to hear from them about the impact of the severe weather and the work they are undertaking to help communities return to normal.

In my written ministerial statement of 17 January, Official Report, column 33-34WS, I announced a £6.7 million severe weather recovery scheme to provide additional financial support to local authorities in England to help them tackle community impacts and damage to roads and bridges. I am pleased to confirm that my Department will contribute a further £300,000 to the severe weather recovery scheme to bring the total funding available to £7 million. This support is in addition to the Bellwin scheme, and any insurance claims and existing central/local government obligations. We will be writing to all local authorities shortly with details of the £7 million scheme and how they may apply for assistance.

For those areas still in response, I can confirm that my Department’s national fire assets have been deployed to those areas most in need including the Somerset levels where 13 high-volume pumps are in place of which eight are in action and five are being held in strategic reserve.

A further announcement on support for local authorities will be made in the coming days.